Hold two opposites together and let your consciousness expand!

Yogis!  One of the things we talked a lot about on our recent retreat in Tulum was the idea of holding two opposites together in our yoga practice and what happens when we hold these two opposites long enough.  This concept is told in so many different ways and in so many different yoga traditions and practices.  Patanjali talks about tapas and surrender.  Go into the fire and while in the fire practice surrendering.  When you close off and contract you create suffering.  When you open up and expand you increase your awareness.  Karma Yoga from the Bhagavad Gita tells us to move with skill in action.  This is like saying bring movement and stillness together.  Yoga is an active practice.  You have to show up.  You don't move out of your tamasic state of heaviness, laziness, dullness, ignorance without first moving.  It takes some work.  Show up for yourself.  Once you are moving, though, can you find some of the stillness you just left behind.  Can you move with skill in action.  The term vinyasa breaks down to mean: vi = movementny = no movementasa = posture.  Movement, stillness, posture -- and is often translated as putting something carefully in its proper place.  Hold two opposites together and something amazing happens.  Awareness increases.  We move from the heaviness, the ignorance of tamas to rajas.  There's fire, tapas, intensity.  We surrender into that fire.  We find stillness in the middle of the movement.  Holding those two opposites in perfect balance we reach a third state, a state of neither movement nor stillness alone, a state of sattva -- lightness, illumination -- and expansion occurs.  If we hold this space long enough we reach what Patanjali calls samadhi, the dissolving of the ego, mind, thoughts, the quieting of the mind, letting go of the body and the outside world, Self realization, the experience of pure consciousness.  No ego.  No separation.  No you.  No me.  All meditation begins with concentration.  Surrendering towards the object of concentration, holding the two opposites together leads to a state of meditation.  Sustained meditation, holding those opposites long enough, we merge with the object of concentration.  The body, ego, mind and thoughts, all disappear.  There's nothing but the object and pure awareness.  Hatha yoga, with roots in Tantra, describes these opposites coming together as the masculine and feminine forces uniting at the mani poora chakra and the kundalini awakening, rising up the sushumna channel.  Shiva and Shakti energy then coming together at the 6th chakra, the eyebrow center, agnia and the yogi turning inward and experiencing the Ultimate Reality, absorbed in pure consciousness.  All these traditions, describing the same truth.  Hold these two opposites together long enough and something amazing happens.  Show up for yourself, yogis!  Go into the fire.  Do the work!  Take the journey.  Now, you're on the journey, practice surrendering, surrender into the fire.  There's no goal.  The journey is the goal.  You're in it.  There's nowhere to go.  You're already there.  You're already here.  Karma Yoga.  I offer my practice.  Skill in action!  Movement and stillness.  Hold the two opposites together.  Let your consciousness expand until there's nothing left but pure consciousness, the experience of yourself as pure awareness, the Ultimate Reality.  This is yoga!  This is the end of all suffering.  Happy Monday!  It's been a great week of practice since I got back from the retreat in Tulum, Mexico.  I look forward to seeing you in class this week!  :)